Good Vibrations

Noise control at the heart of innovative business

It’s a well-known fact that noise and vibration go with industry like peanut butter goes with jelly, but for more than 30 years an Airdrie-based company has helped operators reduce this byproduct of doing business.

Spring Air Industrial Acoustics opened its new building on Kingsview Boulevard in January 2015 after many years based out of Sharp Hill and in Calgary before that. Jerry Anderson says that he started Spring Air in 1984 as “mainly a vibration-control business … pumps, boilers, chillers, cooling covers, pretty much anything mechanical in office buildings, condos, fire stations, hospitals and schools. We isolate anything that’s mechanically driven so that vibration doesn’t go into the floor and ceiling.”

Without this isolation, vibration could cause structural damage to buildings, and the noise could violate regulations and annoy neighbouring properties.

“I accidentally got into doing noise control on a gas compressor for a company up by Penhold, and we installed compressor cooler silencers because [they were] fairly close to a farmhouse. It quieted it, enough the acreage owner wasn’t complaining anymore,” says Anderson.

The silencers installed by Spring Air can eliminate up to 100 per cent of high-frequency sound, he says, and can reduce low-frequency sound by as much as 30 decibels.

With the move to Airdrie last year, the company added manufacturing of such products as acoustic panels, custom enclosures, silencers, building ventilation systems – basically “anything to do with absorbing industrial noise,” Anderson says of Spring Air Ltd., the company he started with Bob Clark under what is now the Spring Air Group of Companies (of which Anderson is chairman).

“It’s fortunate that we diversified into manufacturing because now we’re doing a lot of acoustic enclosures for portable power plants, and with oil and gas slowing down that has kept us going,” says Anderson, who has been in the noise-control industry for about 38 years. “We moved staff from Spring Air Industrial Acoustics to Spring Air Ltd. and didn’t have to lay anyone off.”

“It’s been an interesting business because it’s so unique and specialized … I started with one employee and it’s my baby, something I never knew would evolve into something like today”

Anderson currently has about 20 employees, having hired several since last fall (including his son, Kevin).

“We’re still dealing with industrial and oil companies,” he says. “About 50 per cent of our business is now on the manufacturing, and we’re getting a lot of local people coming to us because we can manufacture pretty much anything that’s got to do with sheet metal, steel and that sort of thing. We didn’t have to lay anyone off during the real slow times and I think we were rewarded for that when some large contracts came in last fall.”

Spring Air has done work in Oklahoma, Colorado, North Dakota and Ontario, and has even been involved in providing more than 100 acoustic panels for a power plant in Hawaii and helped build the fire hall in Iqaluit, Nunavut.

“It’s been an interesting business because it’s so unique and specialized,” Anderson says of what he loves about the job. “I started with one employee and it’s my baby, something I never knew would evolve into something like today.”

The business owner lost his first wife to a sudden brain aneurysm six years ago, and says that the experience gave him a new outlook on life.

“In 15 minutes, she passed away, and I look at life differently now,” says Anderson, who has since remarried to a woman who had lost her husband. “When we have challenges and problems [at work], I say, “Nobody died today” and that’s my outlook. I enjoy the sunrises and I enjoy the sunsets.

“We’re so blessed: we have work and great employees,” he adds. “I love what I do.”

Watch AirdrieNOW TV for an interview with Spring Air on airdrielife.com

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